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In which Louise Simonson saves X-Factor; Apocalypse gets off to a rough start; Cyclops is bad at people; Apocalypse should be the Kingpin of X-Men; Jean Grey is sick of your bullshit; you should totally cosplay Skids; and Mystique fundamentally misunderstands branding.
- The Maximoff family tree
- The Whizzer
- X-Factor as sketch comedy
- Louise Simonson
- X-Factor #6-8
- Glow Worm
- Skids (Sally Blevins)
- Weaponized fashion
- Trish Tilby
- Favorite Claremontisms
NEXT WEEK: The Mutant Massacre!
Special thanks to Master of Maximoffs Max Carleton of Waiting for the Trade.
A very happy birthday to the Consulting X-Pert Kestrel!
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Now THAT was a cold open.
I think the Maximoff twins just beat Cable for most convoluted backstory . . .
Agreed, that one had me giggling as I was walking to work this morning, and one a Monday, that takes SOME doing. I kept wondering what would be the cause of the “WHAT???” as pretty much everything qualified for one right out of the gate.
“An asshole in a ski lounge wearing a hydraulic turtleneck” is the way I always wanted to refer to Apocalypse, I was just waiting for someone to invent it as a term of art.
The Institute of Evil, less a criminal organisation, more of an… aprés-ski
Ski School Of Evil sounds SO much like an 80’s teen film . . .
Best cold open. First one that was too convoluted for me to follow. We’re approaching peak continuity. Peoples, you may want to put on your seatbelts.
Google yields one amazing Skids cosplayer. Not in her origin look, sadly, but one still has to give it up:
As a kid, I tried hard to like Simonson’s X-Factor but it always felt like a bunch of old people boo-hooing over their boring marriage problems. I wonder if it would be more appealing now that I AM an old person with boring marriage problems.
First: Totally agree with Rachel’s take on Apocalypse…but I was reading X-Factor from the beginning and dropped out before Age of Apocalypse, so he *never* really worked for me.
Regarding finances in superhero comics:
I can’t speak to DC, but Marvel titles have usually gotten around to addressing this if you stick with them long enough. It’s not the most consistent thing, of course (what is?), buuuttt…
*A year or two before X-Factor hit, we got a *great* 3-issue Spider-Man arc in Avengers that addresses this. He finds She-Hulk jogging through the streets of NYC and jogs with her (along the walls, of course), and she casually drops a comment about how she’s okay with money because being an active Avenger pays $1,000 a week–plus life at the mansion. Remember, this is 1984 dollars, too, so Spidey IMMEDIATELY wants to join the Avengers. Naturally, it doesn’t go well. They never say specifically where the money comes from, but at this point the Avengers have a good relationship with the Federal gov’t, so I always presumed it was gov’t money if not from Stark Industries.
*Reed Richards obviously had some patents to make money on, and the FF got savvy about merchandizing and such pretty early on. Also, during Mark Waid’s run, Reed tells someone that he basically blackmails other businesses with his brilliance: “Hey there, Apple and Microsoft and whoever else: I just invented a smartphone that connects directly to the Dimension of Endless Efficient Computing! How much are you willing to pay me to NOT put this on the market?”
This both resolved a lot of problems for why superhero science hasn’t really changed the world all that much AND gave me my first hint that Reed maybe wasn’t really the good guy he saw himself as being.
*Solo titles: Daredevil = lawyer, obvs, we all know Peter’s money troubles, and of course Frank Castle just blatantly took whatever money was left lying around after every massacre of mobsters or terrorists or whatever. In Frank’s defense, though, I never saw him living it up with that cash or buying stuff he didn’t clearly plan on using, so it’s a little more honorable than civil asset forfeiture. 🙂
Tigra was surprised, when she joined the Avengers, that she got a REALLY generous stupiend from the Maria Stark Foundation, the charitable organisation that Tony Stark set up.
And of course I mean “stipend”! (A Cypher fan who can’t spell, how embarrassing)
Some time in like ’87 or so, my mom came home to tell us that she’d landed a contract gig (she’s a systems analyst) that paid $1000 a week. My eyes lit up and I said, “Mom, you’re being paid Avengers money!”
And was it X-Force minus1 or Cable minus1 (I know, ’90s…) that basically gave us the time paradox that all the devastation caused by Apocalypse was beacause Nathan came back in time to stop him and woke him up? Gotta love retcons. That’s why we read X-Men, right…?
Random trivial question: Is the ski lodge/chateau we see in X-Factor #6 the same place that Apocalypse fights the X-Men in the X-Cutioner’s Song? I think it was in Part 5. I remember reading that issue and the house was referred to as Apocalypse’s home and I thought that the style didn’t really match Apocalypse!
I just looked it up: It’s mentioned in a footnote in Uncanny X-Men #295, that yeah, it’s the same chateau.
(not sure if mentioning one has a copy of X-Cutioner’s Song is a thing one should admit publicly . . .)
The thing I always appreciated about Apocalypse, and you can see it developing here though the Fall of the Mutants, is that his ideology is kind of bulletproof. With most villains you can start to wonder, after the first dozen times they lose, if they wouldn’t start looking for a better way, but Apocalypse will just claim his opposition made the heroes into “the strong” and therefore whatever he did is entirely justified.
He can take it a little bit far thought…. I liked his first Four Horsemen, where he went to a bit of trouble and effort to actually seek out and recruit mutants whose powers were either literal or symbolic interpretations of the actual concept they were named for; Famine destroyed the structure of proteins and anything else she considered food, War made things blow up.
After that it just got more and more contrived as he tried to explain why a given mutant was recruited as a specific Horseman.
At this point I think just having visited the X-Mansion (or any related real estate) is grounds for being shoehorned into the role of a Horseman… ANY Horseman.. including the spare Horsemen they don’t talk about much; Angst, Stubbed Toes, Snelphing and Trig.
I like to think it’s happened so often now, Xavier got pamphlets printed out and hands them to people at the nurses station:
“So You’ve Been Turned Into A Horseman Of Apocalypse . . .”
“So you’ve been possessed by a cosmic force.”
“So you think you might be a Summers brother.”
I really want these to be a thing now.
I’ve always thought the Xavier Orientation packs for new students must have been a hoot and a half, covering everything from “Basic Esper Etiquette” (yeah, right Chuck), “Teleportation Regulation” (Sounds like an episode of Schoolhouse Rock) to the correct form of address when meeting the Majestrix of the Shi’ar Imperium.
Can this be an art challenge? This would be an awesome art challenge.
That Glowworm and Bulk issue was the first and only issue of X-Factor I ever picked up back in the day, and 14 year old me found it so miserable and futile that I never picked up another one. And yet, for some reason I loved the Mutant Massacre! Teenagers are weird.
Just wanted to give a shout out to Kyle Yount on this episode, I think it’s one of the best sounding yet. The effect on the Apocalypse voice was great, but more importantly everything sounded warm and easy to understand and listen to. I recently started listening to a podcast run by professional TV folks, and their podcast is nowhere near as pleasant to listen to or understand (uneven voice quality and volume from episode to episode and speaker to speaker). Keep up the great work!
Yes! This times 1000!
I try to listen to other comics podcasts but the sound quality puts me off. X-Plain the X-Men spoils me.
I don’t know if you’ll notice this question a year after the fact, but doesn’t the new origin for Wanda & Pietro leave things at least one baby short?
HE steals two babies from the Maximoffs, and Bova gives them two babies. Miss America’s child we know to be stillborn. But Magda still gave birth to at least one baby…was that also stillborn? Is Bova just a terrible midwife? Are we going to replace the Third Summers Brother with 15 years of teasing Who Is Magda’s Real Child?!
I believe the Braddocks are wealthy, as well.